Amnesia Review

Story:
What should one do when waking up to find they have no memories and their only constant companion is a fairy no one else can see? Tell no one and trust no one, apparently. At least, that’s what this heroine decides to do as she attempts to piece her lost memories together and figure out why her life seems to keep repeating the same few weeks over and over again.

Violence:
Initially this show doesn’t have much violence. However, near the end, this element picks up as the heroine is thrown down a building, nearly shoved in a well and someone tries to stab her to death. Although there aren’t large amounts of blood going everywhere, it’s still pretty tense. Especially as the would-be murderer is more than a few cards short of a deck (which always makes it more scary for me). It’s not a grotesque amount of violence, but it is enough to get this show placed in the YA.

Language:
Nothing intensive here, but a few mean girls and a crazy or two let out with the “female dog in heat” word. Not a frequent occurrence, thankfully.

Nudity:
Another place with little to post. Well, nothing straight forward anyway. The only concerns for this section might be some implied lines from a few of the dudes and a very… odd circumstance with one particular guy. He kinda goes way overboard “protecting” her and she ends up in a small cage and being drugged nearly every night. Why this is worrying: it’s brushed off as him “just trying to protect her.” ….Um, no. Just no. I know abuse when I see it. So, yeah, be warned of that bucket of crazy.

Theology/Mythology:
Orion, the heroine’s occasional companion, is a fairy and much of the explaination at the end deals with fairy creatures and such. Also, some logic in the show implies that the “world wants the heroine dead.” Which, of course, implies the world is sentient. If these kind of ideas bug you than much of this show will.

Personal Impression:
Don’t ask me for her name. I don’t know. No one knows. Because she apparently doesn’t have one. That should tell you a lot about this show. …It’s also pretty amazing, actually. Sad, but amazing. I mean, tweleve episodes and not once is her name said? Wow. As horrible as it may be, gotta hand it to the writers. They’re quite a sneaky lot.
And speaking of sneaky writing, that’s pretty much the only thing that spices up this show. And it has nothing really do with the characters and everything to do with the plot. Time repeats and whatnot are plot elements I admit to being fascinated by. Amidst all the horribly obvious stereotypes and such, the reasoning behind the heroine repeating time and how some of her broken “flashbacks” fit in with everything got me through the show. And, to be honest, I’m still not sure the pay off was worth it in the end. Although, considering this show is based off a otome game (“girl” game), they managed to make the whole “get with every guy” thing… work. Sort of. Well, they make an attempt at explaining it. Which is more than some shows. Too bad they did nothing else inventive.
The art is pretty detailed, as to be expected. The opener and ending are pretty good too, actually. But the background tracks are mediocre and the characters are atrociously written. Especially the heroine. I know she’s supposed to be “pants” (aka a character that can be any girl), but this show takes that to an extreme. She has ZERO personality. So much so that you can’t help but look forward to her dying after awhile. Just to spice her life up. Cause she sure isn’t going to do that herself. Her favorite activity seems to be looking clueless. And walking in the middle of the street. At night. When the world wants her dead.
I just… Okay, look. If you like pretty boys and enjoy an occasional time twist story, this is somewhat entertaining. But if you like the plot to be more than a contrived plan to give every bishie in a twelve mile radius a shot at the heroine, check out another show. Otherwise the heroine’s constant girly murmurs of helplessness might make your brain ooze out of your ears. Just sayin’.

Personal Rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Drama, romance
Website: NA
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screen shots:
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Extra: Remember when eye patches were a thing?

I’m serious. You remember those days right? Nearly every anime coming out featured at least one character sporting an eye patch (oddly, pirates never really factored in). Even Fullmetal Alchemist’s newest movie succumbed. And, yes, I do indeed blame CLAMP for this trend. Many of their characters fell into that category, such as Fay in Tsubasa Chronicles. Other manga teams picked it up as well, as evident in Peach Pit’s Rozen Maiden series. This trend was pretty strong throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, even filtering down into the harem genres where some girl, who probably lost her memories, also sported an eye patch for seemingly no reason whatsoever. And, yes, that is a bitterness you hear in my tone. At least with a lot of the male versions they were hiding a blank eye, a terrible wound or laser guns. The female version didn’t even try half the time.

But, anyway, this brings me back to the point. Fads. Anime seems to have its fair share of them. After FMA was a hit, there was an increase in alchemy making an appearance in shows and games from Japan. Then there’s always been a fascination with angels and demons, though the amount varies. And seeing a picture of Irvine from Zoids Chaotic Century (ps – his covered eye is apparently fine. He used his eye patch for extra cameras and as a recording device. Gotta get me one of those) makes me wonder about today’s shows. What trends are showing up these days? I’d call out “amnesia,” but let’s be honest with ourselves. That card has been played by nearly every show in existence. It’s like some kind of holy grail for an anime production company. I can just see some younger company pitching an idea to investors and being asked if they’ve done a show yet involving a memory-less character, the answer being a make or break for the entire deal.

So what is today’s trend? If I had to guess, I’d throw out “insanity.” There’s been quite the increase in physiological thriller/horror anime coming across the Pacific in the last couple years. Even traditionally “innocent” genres have gotten puled into the mix, as is the case with Madoka Magica. It makes me wonder why. Maybe it’s simply an age thing. Many fans who grew up on Sailor Moon are now far older and exiting college. For them, traditional shows are seeming slow, perhaps. Tastes often shift with age and there’s likely been a serge in demand for more mature shows (I’m ignoring porn because the high demand for that is nothing new).

Of course, it could also have to do with people’s ideas of society. Like how unpredictable it is and such. But I’d rather avoid speculating on that. Especially as I’m sure there are a few other trends, probably smaller details, that are going down these days and I can’t seem to put my finger on them.
What do you think? What’s today’s “eye patch?”

Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth Review

Story:
In the late 19th century, a young Japanese girl named Yune wishes to work and study in France. She ends up working for a small blacksmith’s shop that has seen better days. Yune must come to understand this new country and its ways, just as the residents of her new home must come to understand her.

Violence:
Violence is pretty much nonexistent in this show. Aside from characters falling down off a bike, there’s nothing to report.

Language:
No real language in this show either. Which makes sense given the content.

Nudity:
One or two scenes show Yune taking a bath or getting dressed, but the only things shown are her shoulders. Nothing a beach wouldn’t reveal. Prostitutes and “lovers” are mentioned a few times, but not in detail. In fact, “lovers” is pronounced in French so it’d probably go over the heads of anyone with little to no French language knowledge.

Theology/Mythology:
Since Yune comes from Japan, she does talk about “Japan’s gods” and “France’s god.” Nothing in detail though, just passing comments. Also, one episode shows a shadow show containing the grim reaper and a demon like monster. Nothing said about it. It’s just a small show to entertain the people watching.

Personal Impression:
This show is supposed to take place in France, but the social interactions are often far too much like Japan. So pretty much it’s more like Frapan. Yeah, it’s not really one country or another. Which is a shame as this show had the chance to be truly educational about other nations outside of Japan. And kinda failed.
As far as the show itself goes, however, it’s pretty well done. It has detailed animation and music that fits the scenes and atmosphere. The characters are pretty easy to pigeon hole, unfortunately, but then this show isn’t the most brilliant plot wise. In fact, there’s really no plot at all. All that ever happens is Yune coming to be accepted in her new home. That’s it. It makes for quite an anti-climatic ending, but the whole show is so slow and laid back that anything else might have only ended up feeling rushed anyway.
If you want a clean, slower show to refresh your mind after all the more violent stuff coming out these days, this is a nice one to try out (can’t tell you how nice it felt to put an “All Ages” tag on this). Just don’t expect any heavy duty brain work. It’s pretty much you-get-what-you-see in this one.

Personal Rating: All ages

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: PG
Genre(s): Slice of life, historical, drama
Website: NA
Legal streaming: Anime Network
Screen shots:
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Extra: 100th post! Thank you, everyone!

100th postI can’t believe we’ve already made it to a hundred posts! Currently, I have forty-six reviews written and forty-two extras. That’s a lot of anime! And I’m very grateful to have reached this far and to have been useful to readers like you. It’s amazing to see how far this place has come…. But where is it going?

As a special reward for those of you who have been faithful followers of my little blog here, I’d like to extend that power to YOU!

From now until May 20th, you can send me any currently streaming anime (rated TV14 or under) to review AND/OR a nerdy article idea to talk about, be it a character analysis, cultural research, etc.
And YOU shall be credited by name at the very top of said review or article ^-^

So, in the month of June, YOU, my faithful followers, will be calling the shots around here. Just comment your suggestions here or shoot me the titles/ideas via Twitter @RRAnimeReviews (you may submit as many suggestions as you want).

Ready? GO!

Inu x Boku Secret Service Review

Story:
Ririchiyo just can’t function socially. Every time she tries, she just ends up insulting people and being cold. Having gone to an expensive apartment complex to be alone, she soon ends up with a private secret service agent she never signed up for. And, try as she may, getting rid of him is nearly impossible.

Violence:
Nothing too bad, actually. Mostly slap stick humor. What violence there is never really ends in bloodshed.

Language:
Defiantly some of this. Not every episode or anything, but expect at least one instance of the “female-dog-in-heat” word and the usual splatter of d-mns, sh-ts and such.

Nudity:
This is the weird part… Not that much outright nudity. Less than some shows, actually. The worst being Ririchiyo’s sleepwear, which is just an oversized shirt unbuttoned nearly halfway. It shows some modest cleavage, though beaches sport worse. The worst aspect of “nudity” in this show, however, is implied. The male lead is implied to have done some very inappropriate things with women through the years. One character is obsessed with other girls and is a real pervert and a half. Another character has a strong obsession with S&M. No details too horrible, but defiantly not for kids. Also, there’s one scene where the female obsessed…. um, female has a breast poking contest with a big chested maid. Oh and there’s a transvestite maid. Nothing as bad as some of the innuendo in Shangri-la, but, again, not PG stuff.

Theology/Mythology:
This really isn’t much of a spoiler so I’ll just out with it (you find out episode one, after all), all the residents of Ririchiyo’s apartment complex are youkai. If these elements of Japanese folklore bother you, skipping this might be good. Also, the idea of reincarnation is heavily implied.

Personal Impression:
This show was a fun ride. Defiantly shoujo, but with plenty of humor to keep it from being boring. The art and music were all quite good as well. The story is really nothing special. Actually, it’s rather predictable overall. But, again, shoujo. That genre isn’t known for uniqueness. Still, there are some merits to be seen in the characters. Ririchiyo seems pretty typical for her character type, but she had good reason to be as she is and her development is pretty well handled overall as is the male lead’s. We don’t get much inside intel on anyone else, however. But then again, this show is pretty short so there’s really not much room for more. Refreshingly, the ending is pretty clear cut though. Unlike many other shoujo shows, this one wraps up the romance aspect neatly. A very nice change from other shows that flounder in indecision before cutting short at some random point.
So if you like heavy comedy and romance, with a bit of dark mixed in, this show is a fun watch with a conclusive ending. Though if you really want to know the backstory of the flying banner guy…. Yeah, you won’t get that. Dang it.

Personal Rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Supernatural, fantasy, comedy
Website: N/A
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screen shots:
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Extra: Back to the beginning

There’s something particular about many endings to anime shows. As more than a few frustrated fans have noticed, quite a few end similar to how they began. For example, Haruhi not being in any solidified relationship at the end of Ouran High School Host Club or seeing a vision of Takehara standing by his childhood friend at the end of Xame’d. For fans wanting a better ending, namely those wishing for their favorite OTP (One True Pairing) to become cannon, this swing around to seemingly first base is maddening. Yet it’s not just because companies wish to leave things open for possible sequels (although that might have something to do with it, too).

It actually has to do with Japanese culture. In most European/Western thinking, time is like a line. But in many Asian cultures (though certainly not all), time is often seen as a circle. In other words, everything returns to what it once was eventually. Stumble into a room full of over-the-top male students pretending to be hosts? End on same note. And so on and so forth. As pointless as it may seem to some people, it makes sense if time is indeed circular.

Not that this explanation takes away the feeling of pain one feels when it seems the ending is… a bit too plain after so much time invested in a particular show. Especially when that show is Princess Tutu. Oh gosh, why……